Miss Musings

A modern miss provides commentary on sociological and psychological issues concerning politics, the media, literature, and everyday observances.

Why it’s Okay to be a Single Millennial

What do young singles and Pringles have in common? They are both a bit salty. 

All jokes aside, it can be unexpectedly difficult being a single millennial. I spent the first quarter of 2015 dating, and entered college single. At times it seems like everyone is in a relationship, operating as half of a whole, and you may wonder if you are as happy as you could be. I know at times I missed the emotional bond and security I felt while I was with someone else, but when I came home for winter break, I had a reality check.

Courtesy of LikeGif.com

Courtesy of LikeGif.com

To quote Audrey Hepburn from Breakfast at Tiffany’s, “We belong to nobody, and nobody belongs to us.” While being in a relationship does not require you giving away your whole self to a person, it is natural to give away your head and heart to your partner. I know personally that it is challenging to put yourself first when you are dating someone, and that dating becomes a bit of an extracurricular at times. It distracts you from you, as you begin to develop alongside someone instead of paving your own way.

Do not be mistaken: I believe relationships are wonderful structures that provide support and comfort. But, there are tremendous benefits to being alone as a young person. For example, my free time is spent on creative projects such as writing, reading, crocheting, and drawing. I can go to class dressed up for myself, or in sweats and a t-shirt. I can make big plans to travel or to lay in bed and read for a week during breaks from school. My life is governed by myself alone, and I am drawing the map that I can choose to follow or discard. Being single warrants freedom, and freedom yields lots of room for self discovery.

There was a time a few months ago when I was desperate to be a part of something, because let’s face it, relationships are gushy and glamorous. There is a reason we all secretly love cheesy romantic comedies and re-read Pride & Prejudice out of our own volition. Yet now, I am comfortable in this state of singleness. It has allowed me to focus on deepening magical friendships, taking care of my family, and finding opportunities to have fun and seek success at my university. While I am not opposed to dating, I am no longer looking for another person to make me feel great about myself. I make me feel great about myself, and there is something powerful about a type of deeply-rooted confidence that will never let me down.

 

14 Sneaky College Life Hacks

I will be the first to tell you that it is normal to feel clueless in college. During the first few weeks, you may ask yourself probing questions such as, “Where is the laundry machine?” and “Does Nutella on a bagel constitute a balanced breakfast?” Your greatest fears may come to mind as you take a lukewarm shower or get drenched in the rain that was not reported on your spiffy weather app. But do not fret – I am here to give you some tips on how to be successful in college, from grades to food to mental sanity.

  1. Listen to music while you grocery shop. This will empower you and make you shop faster in case you have to catch a speedy grocery shuttle.
  2. Do NOT boil an entire box of pasta. Don’t listen to what the box says; you cannot eat all of it.
  3. Go to your professors’ office hours! Introduce yourself and have at least one question to ask each professor. They will remember you, which is priceless for when you go to their offices to inquire about grades or difficult assignments.
  4. Do your laundry in between classes. Unless you would like to volunteer as tribute for the Hunger Games, it is advised to stay far away from the laundry room on weekends.
  5. Stay away from free food. While unlimited free pizza is tempting, you will get tired of the free food after a week or two. Just because it’s free does not mean you should eat it!
  6. Be done with homework by 7PM. If you do homework during the day, you will not have to turn down your friends’ offers to play Cards Against Humanity or go grab Steak & Shake. You will also have ample time to sleep. Speaking of…
  7. Do not sacrifice your sleep. Only rare breeds can manage crazy schedules and get enough shut eye. Prioritize your health above everything else, except going to class…
  8. Actually go to class. Even if you can get an A in a class without attending, it yields good karma to show up somewhere you are paying to be. Your professor will take note of your desire to learn, which could come in handy if you fail a quiz and need to seek assistance.
  9. Don’t stress making friends. The key to meeting people in college is putting yourself out there, not being afraid of being mildly uncomfortable for a few minutes at various meetings, introducing yourself a million times, and eventually, meeting really excellent people who stick with you to the end of the experience and beyond. Do not worry if you don’t have a “squad” or clique right away; just appreciate the people you do have in your life and deepen your most worthwhile friendships.
  10. Carry an umbrella. Everywhere. Always.
  11. Take a spiral-bound notebook to take notes on to class, and then rip out the notes at the end of the day and add them to a massive binder. This way you are not carrying all of your notes around with you every class day.
  12. Invest in a digital watch. You don’t want your professors catching you glancing at the clock, do you? Because trust me, you will.
  13. Shop with reusable bags. Not only is this good for the environment, but it allows you to cram more items into fewer bags. No longer will you have to keep track of ten plastic bags on the shuttle.
  14. Write down everything in one planner. This includes grocery lists, to-dos, finals, exams, quizzes, and fun. Make the planner your lifeline. Become one with the planner.

 

That is it, collegiates: you are now 14 steps closer to achieving success (or sanity) in school.

What is the most important thing you have learned this semester, or during your college experience? Leave a comment below with your tip!

#MissCollege: Finding a sense of place

As I dropped haphazardly taped up boxes of school supplies on my floor and frantically gazed around the white cellar that I now had to call home, I wondered if I would ever feel welcome at the massive University of Central Florida. People were abuzz with joy during move-in day, but I felt on the outskirts of something great.

My first week of college felt like a vacation, competition, and an episode of Big Brother. I attended too many club meetings and had a copious number of awkward conversations that always included the following questions: “What’s your name? Major? Why UCF? Can we be best friends?” I scrambled to meet people with cars and baked a lot of chocolately treats. Oddly enough, I didn’t cry.

After the first two weeks life seemed to make more sense. I didn’t need a map to find my classes, and I pinpointed life-saving shortcuts to get from my dorm to across campus in 7 minutes. I discovered the unpredictability of on campus shuttles and nailed two committee interviews. I even made a few amazing friends. Often I questioned if I was socializing enough, even though I had already committed to too many activities and projects for others. So I kept running to meetings, studying, and scheduling.

Now I am in a comfortable “college rhythm.” A few days ago UCF had its largest homecoming event called “Spirit Splash.” At the event, thousands of UCF students run into the reflection pond and attempt to catch rubber ducks that volunteers hurl into the water. Often Spirit Splash can get violent, as the demand for rubber ducks is ample and the supply is lacking. That day I stood on the perimeter of the madness, awkwardly holding my phone to take video of the brawls, and wondering if I made the right choice in coming to UCF. I stayed close to home and made friends, but I still felt like I was chasing dreams too slowly. Suddenly, rubber ducks started being thrown into the crowd of eager students in the water, and surprisingly, to us, the misfits on the outskirts of the party. Hundreds of hands flew up in the air to catch a duck that apparently had wings and flew toward all of us. I spotted the duck and knew it was going to be mine, and I watched it land right onto my shoulder. Later that day I ran into the middle of the reflection pond, empowered by being wrapped into a tradition. I stopped hesitating. Instead of saying “maybe next year,” I thought, “why not go right now?”

Courtesy of Knight News

Courtesy of Knight News

With that anecdote, I will list of some items to consider if you are trying to find yourself at college or a new workplace.

  1. Take too many risks.
  2. Have an overriding reason to wake up every morning. For me, it’s the idea of working in New York and living among the magic of a big city. When I want to give up on an assignment, I just remember the vague outline of a potent dream and how I can reach it one day.
  3. Talk to people. In lines. At shows. In class.
  4. Make meaningful friends. Having a friend in class to remind you of a deadline or exam will be vital to your success.
  5. Remember that you can’t do college alone.
  6. Allow yourself to break down.
  7. Be vulnerable with a few people.
  8. Work on one big self project in your free time, such as writing a story or painting a mural.
  9. Be nice to everyone.
  10. Wake up earlier and use your mornings to write to-do lists.
  11. Speak louder than usual when you are nervous.
  12. Volunteer to do things you feel you are under qualified for.
  13. Relish the time you are challenged, because you will grow even if you don’t succeed with something.
  14. Join a lot of things and then evaluate what you enjoy most. Then drop.
  15. Don’t make promises or appointments you can’t keep.
  16. Be early.
  17. Do homework the day it is assigned, if possible.
  18. Take one entire day off every week.
  19. Don’t let anyone talk you out of your beliefs.
  20. Don’t let anyone try to define you.
  21. Avoid talking politics.
  22. Be wary of people in competitive environments.
  23. Dress up on exam day.
  24. Try something, fail, and remember why you wanted to try in the first place.

 

College is tricky. It can feel lonely even if you try to get involved quickly. All you can do is work hard and let people come to you. Chase your passions and everything else falls into place. Take classes for yourself and take care of your health. Life is long, and this is just a blip on the screen, so don’t worry about making all of your memories during these four years. This isn’t the highlight of your life; it’s just a moment. Learn from the experience and cherish it. You’ll find your place now and again later as you grow. Be an emotional nomad; life is more fun that way.

 

 

7 ways to cope with an overwhelming schedule

Even though I have been in college for only a month, I am finding my day-to-day schedule to be a bit intense: I have taken on two campus leadership positions, joined committees, began volunteering at a local elementary school, and managed a 16 hour workload and a marketing internship. However, what I have found is that when you stress yourself with lots of tasks, you begin to manage your time quite effectively. Here are my tips for managing an overwhelming schedule, and staying sane while doing it!

#1: Wake up earlier.

Courtesy of GifsGallery

Courtesy of GifsGallery

I never wake up later than 8AM. Sometimes when I know a day is going to be long, I wake up an hour earlier so I don’t have to rush through my morning routine, and so I have more time to think about how I am going to carpe diem.

#2: Eat breakfast.

Courtesy of Giphy

Courtesy of Giphy

Even if you aren’t hungry, you need to have something to eat every morning. Make breakfast a time for you to clear your head: eat at the table, not at your laptop. Enjoy your food and try not to think of anything but you!

#3: Plan one fun thing to do.

Courtesy of Gurl

Courtesy of Gurl

You may not have time some days to hang out with friends or go to the gym, but at least schedule in something enjoyable for that week. Remember not to lose yourself in the meetings and deadlines. You deserve to have some fun.

#4: Have a “today only” folder.

Take a folder with you to work or school. In the folder, throw in any papers you have to turn in, a pencil, and a pen. At the end of the day your folder will be empty and you can look back on all the work you accomplished. Plus, you’ll never have to search through your bag for a pen again!

#5: Carry a notebook everywhere.

It isn’t a good feeling to be the only one at a class or meeting without a notebook. So, bring a miscellaneous notebook in your bag to jot down grocery lists, notes, or contact information. You never know when you will need to write something down.

#6: Take a mental health day.

Courtesy of MisadventuresofaMisfit

Courtesy of MisadventuresofaMisfit

Admittedly, I was not very receptive to “mental health days” when I first heard of them. However, if you are an over-scheduled person who always feels a bit pressed for time, realize that burnout may be on the horizon. Ever catch yourself saying, “I’m fine! Just a bit busy. Hey… when’s the last time I watched TV?” Remember to check in with your feelings and your mental and physical health every once and a while and evaluate if you are pushing your limits too far. Try not to take on more than you have to, but if you have already over-committed, allow yourself a day or even just an afternoon to do something you love. Don’t relate your day to productivity. You should not have to be productive to feel good about yourself.

#7: Dress well.

Courtesy of Imgur

Courtesy of Imgur

In the words of Oscar Wilde, “You can never be overdressed or over-educated.” On days when I know I will be in contact with many people, or on exam days, I always dress up. Do your hair, touch up your makeup, and don a nice outfit. It’s magical what a simple outfit can do for your outlook on your successful life.

The top tip I can give anyone feeling overwhelmed is to halt taking on any new projects or responsibilities. Unfortunately, life can become an unavoidable responsibility. So, I urge you to schedule, plan, and make lists. Reward yourself after trying days, and stay connected with your friends, family, and loved ones. Life can move too fast when you are overloaded, so make sure you keep yourself grounded in your purpose.

 

 

#MissCollege: What college freshmen need from their parents

You’re a parent of a soon-to-be-college student, and you are probably feeling lots of spastic emotions right now. You’re hoping your student signed up for the right classes at orientation, you’re randomly asking yourself if you bought the XL twin bedsheets already, and you are fretting over if your child – er, student – should invest in a meal plan. Sally or Bob is begging to live off campus as soon as possible, because s/he will probably be too hip for the college scene, but you are just praying they graduate in the golden four years with minimal debt. Welcome to college, parents.

As an incoming student, I am still figuring many things out. My parents are prepared for my journey into college because my sibling has already endured the random worries and unexpected tribulations that infuse the college experience. So, equipped by a general idea of what you may be going through, as well as my own confusion, I have compiled the following list of things your child really needs right about now and during the first few months of school.

1. HUGS

Courtesy of Huffington Post

Courtesy of Huffington Post

I am a huggy person. Your child may not be into hugs, but trust me, s/he will want to tap into the hug reservoir during those homesick nights.

2. Money

Courtesy of HelloGiggles

Courtesy of HelloGiggles

All kids like money. However, what I mean by mentioning this is that students are often broke and need to have cash on hand to survive. Help them sort out how the ATM works so they can have access to cash when they go to sketchy drive-thrus with their friends. (It’ll happen sooner or later).

3. Care Packages

Courtesy of Amazon

Courtesy of Amazon

I’m talking chocolate bars, that special sauce they can ONLY get at your fave grocery store, and any other random items that are difficult to buy in a college town. Throwing in a cute card never hurts!

4. Financial Advice

Courtesy of Teen.com

Courtesy of Teen.com

One of my favorite things to do with my family is discuss finances. Perhaps my love of Suze Orman has finally flung into full force, because I like to ask about IRAs and checking accounts on a daily basis. Do your student a favor and teach them about how to budget and make good financial decisions. Also, it’s not a bad idea to discuss building credit in college with smaller “big” purchases such as textbooks and laptops, because without credit, your student won’t be able to make large purchases in the future. Goodbye dream house and first car…

5. Reassurance

Courtesy of The Odyssey Online

Courtesy of The Odyssey Online

Reassurance is a wonderful thing… it’s quick, it makes people feel awesome, and it’s FREE. College students are caught in this whirlwind of self-doubt, new situations, and challenging coursework. Your student needs you to be their cheerleader! Go ahead and let your student know that s/he is handling things just fine. Skype them with positivity. Be complimentary over a phone call. We all need a little help sometimes, especially when an entire lifestyle is changing.

So, college parents, keep on helping your students with this capstone transition into adulthood; it’s tough, but you can make it through!

#MissCollege: 11 Must-Have Items for any Florida College Student

As a student at a public Florida university, I can say a few things about our college communities here in Florida: we are all about the sunshine, football, spirit, parties, music, fashion, and collegiate experience. Also, Florida colleges are extremely diverse and attract students from out of state who may not be prepared for the humid climate. To assist Florida transplants and Florida natives alike, I have compiled a list of items you’ll be thankful to have at school here in the sunshine state!

Your college lifesavers

Your college lifesavers, presented my Miss Musings!

#1: A Reusable Water Bottle

Tervis water bottle from Bealls

Tervis water bottle from Bealls

Buying plastic water bottles is an expensive venture, and even if they are reused, they still have to be recycled eventually or wreck havoc on our environment. Also, plastic water bottles can melt in the heat, resulting in plastic particles getting into your drink. Do your health and the planet’s health a favor and invest in a Tervis or Thermos reusable water bottle (I got mine for $15 at Bealls). Bonus Tip: Both Tervis and Thermos products are made in the USA!

#2: An Umbrella

Mini umbrella by totes from Target

Mini umbrella by totes from Target

Umbrellas are CRUCIAL in Florida, especially if you are attending school in the summer. Some umbrellas can collapse to a small enough size to fit in your backpack or purse. I bought my umbrella for $15 at Target, and it fits in all of my bags. Bonus Tip: Stock up on Publix plastic bags and keep some in your backpack to store your umbrella in!

#3: Bug Spray

Plan on going out for a night on the town? Unfortunately, you might be joined by some unwanted guests. Load up on pocket-sized bug sprays to protect yourself from diseases, especially if you are headed out for a barbecue, late night beach trip, or outdoor music festival. Bonus Tip: Some bug sprays contain dangerous chemicals, including N-diethyl-meta-toluamide (a.k.a. deet). Look for a concentration of 15% deet for best results and minimal damage.

#4: Waterproof Mascara

While waterproof mascara is difficult to remove, it can withstand even the worst of the Florida heat. I have stopped wearing mascara just for convenience reasons, but when I do wear it, I prefer waterproof Falsies by Maybelline to all other brands. Bonus Tip: To remove your mascara without using makeup remover, swipe vaseline onto your lashes with a Q-tip and gently dab off the mascara with a soft rag.

#5: Sleeveless Tops

Want to wear your T-shirts all summer long? Think again: T-shirts can lock in underarm sweat and result in some unfortunate stains. Cute tank tops and sleeveless tops are your best bet for maximum ventilation.

#6: Jumpsuits and Rompers

Jumpsuits are all the rage this summer – and for good reason! They are soft, comfortable, and light. Also, the one-piece fashion makes for an instant outfit for when you are running out of clothes or approaching laundry day.

#7: Stretchy Headbands

Simple stretchy headband from a pack from Target

Simple stretchy headband from a pack from Target

In case you have not noticed, there is literally no escape from the heat of Florida. You will break a sweat even during a short walk to class. To avoid sweaty hair emergencies, have some elastic headbands in your backpack. You can throw them on and pull your hair back so the sweat is not so obvious.

#8: Bus Apps

University of Florida and Florida State University both utilize the transloc app, which maps out bus routes on your phone so that you won’t have to walk across campus in the heat of the day. This app could very well protect you from heatstroke or having to walk alone at night. Bonus Tip: Bus routes can also be accessed on your laptop. See if your campus has transloc.

#9: A Canvas Bag

A canvas bag I got for free with purchase

A canvas bag I got for free with purchase

You’ve seen them at the grocery store and might be wondering why you need the trendy canvas bag. These bags are not only good go-to grocery holders, as they are more durable than flimsy plastic grocery bags, but they make great gym and beach bags. Why soil your favorite cute purse or backpack with sand and sweaty gym clothes when you have an eco-friendly canvas bag at your disposal?

#10: SPF EVERYTHING

Softlips lip balm with SPF 20 in Vanilla from Target

Softlips lip balm with SPF 20 in Vanilla from Target

Sunscreen is critical to every college student, but especially those in Florida. If you don’t like the feel of sunscreen, just follow these three steps for maximum protection and minimal grossness: 1. Wear a moisturizer with SPF under your makeup. 2. Spray your body with unscented sunscreen before dressing. 3. Apply SPF 15+ lip balm throughout the day. Even if you are just outside to walk in between classes, you could easily spend an hour unprotected from the sun’s rays. Protect your skin!

#11: Trendy Sunglasses

My fave sunnies from Forever 21

My fave sunnies from Forever 21

These are both practical and fashionable. I wear sunglasses everywhere – when I’m driving, when I’m walking, and when I’m exercising outside. I have had my favorite pair of sunnies since summer 2014, a circular black pair, and I only spent $5 on them. Check out Forever 21 and Target for the most recent styles such as the aviator, the vintage, and the circular pairs.

So go ahead and stock up on these helpful items; you’ll be thankful for them when Fall term rolls around!

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What was the best thing you brought to college? Leave a comment below or tweet me at @sammimorri! 

 

Slip into something less comfortable… adulthood

2015 has been paced just right – I had my first relationship, traveled as an adult, finished high school, and stayed somewhere on my own. Becoming a grown up is mildly terrifying, yet completely exciting. In this post, I seek to traverse through what I have learned about adulthood so far.

I did not consider myself an “adult” until I stayed in an apartment overnight, completely alone. There was a kitchen, a few empty rooms, and nightfall surrounding my skin and bones. It hit me – I had never stayed anywhere without my parents, my sister, or other family or friends, so I had no idea how to react to this earned silence. I sat in the bed for a while after I packed my bag for orientation the next day, and realized that I was able to survive independently, and as I heard a few drunken shouts outside of my window, my brain went into overdrive. One thing I knew for certain – going to college is a privilege, and I was not going to lose my focus for any person or any party. This is my opportunity. I fell asleep to the lullaby of the shaking blindfolds, satisfied by my own company.

Flash back a few days to a speedy adventure in New York. While I went with my mother, normally I would have been overwhelmed by the city. I was intimidated and enthralled last year, and this time, I was in a deep place of understanding with the smoke, the smell, and the onrush of crazed people. Since I had experienced travelling to Manhattan before, I was able to settle into a peaceful state of mind, and calmly trusted that everything would be okay. Sure, everyone was buzzing quickly and rushing from building to street, but I did not always try to keep up with the locals; instead, I kept up with myself. Independence in life also involves detaching one’s self from the collective mass of anonymous strangers in foreign places. I no longer felt like their eyes were pushing me, or their ears were listening for me to say the wrong thing. My travel self-consciousness and desire to blend in with the locals seemed to drift away; it does not matter what surrounding people perceive about you, because they are either wrong or don’t notice what you are doing anyway.

Letting go of high school was less momentous, as I had already been thinking about college for most of high school. However, leaving the comfort of home is still something I am working on accepting. I chose not to jet off to Manhattan for college for financial reasons, but deep down, my roots to Florida are buried deep in the southern soil. There is still more to explore here, and I accepted that I can still blossom alongside my family and home culture. I was homeschooled, so naturally many believe college will be a big transition for me, but it is really a crazy step for everyone. You can research your school all you want and know your heart, but your values will shift and many situations will test your people skills very quickly. I am prepared for the challenge and am anxious to get going in the world as a grown adult.

I realized at orientation that we are all 18 and legal adults, and we must engage in all privileges and responsibilities of adulthood. This means that we are expected to be able to form rules and make wise decisions for ourselves, instead of blindly following what our parents tell us to do. We are not lawless, but rather, law creators. This freedom can be stripped away in the fragile college time, so I aim to make my family proud and seize the opportunities that are granted to me at school and beyond.

It’s time to slip into something less comfortable: adulthood; but I am ready.

2014 in review: #thestruggle, coffee and wonder

Only four more days of 2014 await me, and I have to say this year was one of the most oddly comforting and emotionally-draining of all.

I have written more essays than I have for all of my English classes in the last five or so months, attempting to drag my underdeveloped and elusive “life’s story” out of my heart and thrust it onto Word documents. With my hair unbrushed, brain tired and wired, I spent a good deal of time this year wondering who I am and where I am going with my life. Just when one believes every path is clear: job, college choice, major choice, people choice, every choice seems to be a chore and the cleverly designed flow chart suddenly disconnects and flies in lost directions. My story is just like everyone else’s: school, primarily, and confusion, more of it spurred by self exploration that colleges so eagerly seek from applicants. The anxiety is everlasting, but perhaps the product of self-understanding will be attainable and wonderful.

2014 also brought on a slew of college classes, quickly blossomed and fizzled friendships as well as dreamily deep ones, broken hearts and mending hugs. But doesn’t growing up spark all this anyway? Stress seems like a daily occurrence, but so do smiles, and I have never felt more contently polarized.

I discovered the supreme joys of coffee this year on a revealing adventure to New York, and I drink it daily to remind myself that wherever I go, I will leave my heart in the city of dreams, swirling in the turbulent Starry Night and scanning the skyline from a position of power and appreciation.

 

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2015 will be everything a girl could want: working & packing & learning & living & loving. In a few months I could be anywhere in America, hopefully with a mapped out yet flexible plan in mind for how I will use my time. In four months, Miss Musings will turn one, and will serve as a log of my cognitive and writing development over a special time in life.

I hope I have incurable wanderlust and a year of wonderment, but not wondering – instead, achieving happiness on my lifelong quest for contentment. 2015’s journey will be sunny with fireworks and Orlandonian magic, and I will walk with, under, and toward its light.

How was your year? Keep up with M2 on Facebook and Twitter

The modern student’s college essay debacle

Ah, college. How mystical and eye-opening exposure to the American higher education system is. I am undoubtedly stoked to dip my toes in, but I have already hit an inevitable admissions road block: writing the essay. And this is coming from a writer….

Recently I discovered that no matter how many essay drafts I write, no couple of paragraphs will accurately sum up my struggles, my personality, or my (currently unknown) goals in life. It just isn’t happening. In fact, I am cleverly avoiding writing some college admissions essays by writing this very blog post. Not because I am scared of the daunting prompts – nay, I’ve seen a few odd writing requests in my time. Rather, I know my limitations as a writer. I can live and breathe a fictional character’s experiences with accurate faux-ness and ease, but it is far more difficult recounting a tale of my own. Truly, pinpointing my best qualities or hardest moments is a struggle; I would rather play darts with my eyes closed, as I would be much more accurate at something so objective. Unfortunately subjective admissions essays require a depth and insight that perhaps takes more caffeine than usual to unleash.

Essays are, arguably, the most human aspect of any college application. After all, they are meant to be manuscripts of conversations – only edited, proofread, over-thought, sanitized, and devoid of error. Where are the cute stumbles of a chat over coffee? The charming pitfalls? The relieving letting of the guard down? They were present in the earnest first drafts, but cast aside during a quest for something more impressive. I could not imagine the frustration associated with being a college essay reader, reading the same words and phrases over and over – diversity, adventurous, mature, studious, “live life to the fullest”, want, “seize opportunities,” need, and desire.

I suppose I could call for an end to essays in general. In reality, all I want is for the students to not stress over their essays so intensely. I am a writer, and every college will know that, so it is fair to assume that my essays will be scrutinized for correctness and general awe. I hope to charm universities with my quirky stories and a quick peek inside my heart, not the mind I have carved to be intelligent over my lifetime. Let me provide a quiet glance at some beating, lively and raw organ that has been engraved by exposure to both words of love and slight odium. Allow me to make my essays more of a photograph than a painting: realistic. I could change the lighting if I wanted to, or even pose, but candid shots are hard to recreate as they were never created. Finally, I will express a good story rather than some admirable adjectives or the thoughts and dreams of others. A mere snapshot of life will provide more information than a screenshot of the world on Google Maps.

To those of you entering this personal, odd and at times uncomfortable world of endless drafting, I wish you luck on your journey.

– Miss Musings

Have thoughts on essay writing? Tweet them to me or join the conversation on Facebook.

 

 

Valencia grads: to Harvard and beyond

Image courtesy of uploads.wikimedia.org

Image courtesy of uploads.wikimedia.org

 

Valencia College is a unique institution to say the least. What was once Orlando’s community college is now a bachelor’s degree-granting institution, an extension of the University of Central Florida and home to a recent Harvard Medical School admit.

Cathy Gutierrez got her start at Valencia’s Osceola campus for financial reasons and then moved forward to the University of Central Florida to finish her degrees in biotechnology, molecular biology and microbiology. She completed her degrees with a stellar GPA while working at SeaWorld and Red Lobster and volunteering at Give Kids the World. The Valencia-UCF graduate will begin her journey at Harvard Medical School this summer.

Gutierrez’s success proves that Valencia’s prowess is making great strides. Our humble community college is graduating top notch students, but it is doing even more than that – the college is graduating real students with unbelievable stories.

I could report on any one of Valencia’s students due to how interesting their backgrounds are. The college’s students range from reformed convicts to high-achieving students who could not afford to attend anywhere but Valencia. The most redeeming quality of the college is its commitment to honoring hard work and achievement, while instilling these values in its students. Nearly every Valencia student or graduate whom I have met has overcome great obstacles – several jobs, difficult course loads, financial struggles, etc. – and with the help of the college, many of them have found success in the workforce and graduate school.

Click here to learn more of Gutierrez’s story. Visit Valencia’s website to learn more about its mission.

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